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Bob Costas Finally Tells All About Why He Was Cut From Last Year’s Super Bowl Coverage

Remember the Immaculate Reception? One of the greatest plays in NFL history, Jack Tatum, a player widely regarded as almost as big a cheater as Tom Brady, deflected Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw’s pass into the hands of rookie running back Franco Harris to score the game-winning touchdown. The Steelers would go on to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins the next week in the AFC Championship game, but it launched the fortunes of the franchise would go on to win the first of four Super Bowls in the decade two years later.

How about The Catch? In the 1981 NFC Championship the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team,” were up by six points with just about a minute left in the game when Joe Montana threw a pass for Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone, high enough to avoid an interception. Clark lept through the air and came down with the ball and both feet in bounds to win the game and, to paraphrase Joe Montana, sent America’s Team home to watch the Super Bowl with the rest of America.

You know who probably doesn’t remember those great plays? Half the guys on the field when they happened, because they all have CTE now. That’s a thing the NFL and NBC don’t want you to think too hard about, to the point that they benched legendary broadcaster Bob Costas because he had written about the problem concussions and sub-concussive head injuries in the NFL caused.

Why did NBC leave their best and most famous sports journalist off of the Super Bowl on his last year with the network because the NFL was angry with him? Here’s what Costas told ESPN.

“Look, the NFL isn’t just the most important sports property, it’s the single-most important property in all of American television. And it isn’t even close.”

“The networks, all of them, dance to the NFL’s tune. It’s just kind of the way it goes. Everyone walks on eggshells around the NFL.”

Bob, speaking about concussions in football, gave a speech that included this line; “The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains — not everyone’s, but a substantial number. It’s not a small number, it’s a considerable number. It destroys their brains.” Guess who didn’t like that.

“It tells you who calls the shots,” Costas says. “The only business arrangement I can think of where the buyer must continually flatter the seller is the sports TV business. ‘We’re pulling a Brinks armored truck up to Park Avenue, Mr. Goodell. It contains the billions of dollars that we’re going to pay you for the right and privilege to televise your games. But if we’ve delivered them in a denomination that does not please you, we’re terribly sorry, we’ll back the truck up, and we’ll bring it to you in 20s and 50s if that’s the way you’d prefer it.'”

That’s pretty harsh. I love football, but we’ve really got to reckon with how unsafe the sport is. It’s basically causing barely less human suffering than the Romans did at the colosseum. But it does sell a lot of jerseys.

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